Monday, October 30, 2006

Hanford: Triparties Confront Groundwater Unknowns, Seek More Time

An interesting article in the Tri-City Herald, about a push by the EPA, Ecology and Energy to come to grips with what they don't know about groundwater contamination at Hanford.

Tri-City Herald -- By Annette Cary

"Methods to learn more about the extent, type and location of contamination will include taking samples from wells or bore holes. In addition, measurements of the resistance of electricity as it moves through the soil will be use. The new deadline for identifying technologies that can then be used to clean up contamination deep in the soil would be Dec. 31, 2007, under the proposed new milestones. The new milestones also further integrate the schedule for decisions on soil cleanup and ground water cleanup, allowing them to be made at the same time. Public comment will be accepted on the proposed Tri-Party Agreement changes through Dec. 7. Send comments to Briant Charboneau, DOE, Richland Operations Office, P.O. Box 550 (A-6-33), Richland, WA 99352, or e-mail For a copy of the proposed changes, call 1-800-321-2008."

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Makah Bay Offshore Wave Energy Pilot Project Advances

Finavera Renewables press release
"The Environmental Assessment, known as a PDEA, (the ‘Assessment’), prepared by Devine Tarbell & Associates, a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) qualified assessor, concluded that “the Makah Bay Project represents the first of its kind pilot wave energy project in the nation to involve the FERC licensing process. The assessment resulted in Findings of No Significant Environmental Effects from the proposed pilot project” AquaEnergy is following the FERC’s Alternative Licensing Process and is filing this Preliminary Draft Environmental Assessment (PDEA) with an application for an original FERC license. This filing is imminent, and will make the Makah Bay Pilot Project the most advanced wave energy project in the United States. Completion of the PDEA was made possible with the financial support from Snohomish PUD, and Puget Sound Energy along with the support from Evans-Hamilton and Fugro Pelagos. The Alternative Licensing Process (ALP) combines into a single process the pre-filing consultation and environmental review processes under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Typically, FERC’s license application process for a power plant consists of a multi-year process that AquaEnergy has now completed, including extensive environmental and technical studies, public meetings, stakeholder meetings, and other required actions. Since the project inception in 2001, AquaEnergy conducted meetings with environmental groups, fisherman’s associations, and commercial and recreational users of Makah Bay. AquaEnergy’s model approach involving the public was a result of early action in ocean energy project development. The PDEA process examined and assessed potential impact of the demonstration project on the oceanographic, geophysical, and biological conditions of the Makah Bay. The PDEA conclusion of a Findings of No Significant Environmental Effects demonstrates that ocean energy conversion is well positioned to generate energy without negative impacts on the environment. The PDEA can be downloaded from AquaEnergy web site: "

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hanford: K-Basin Cleanup

Tri-City Herald -- By Annette Cary
"Work has been completed on one of Hanford's most vexing cleanup projects in recent years. Workers have finished vacuuming the bulk of the radioactive sludge in the K East Basin into underwater containers after two years of work."

14,000' Gas Wells in Grant & Yakima Counties, WA

Brownstone Press Release
"TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 25, 2006) - Brownstone Ventures Inc. ('Brownstone')(TSX VENTURE:BWN) announced today that it has entered into a participation agreement with Savant Resources LLC ('Savant'), a private limited liability company based in Colorado, to purchase a 2% participating interest in leases covering 366,973 net acres in the Columbia River Basin, Oregon. Savant owns rights and interests in and to an undivided 75% interest in the leasehold estates (the 'Leases') which run for 10 years, making Brownstone's net undivided interest 1.5%. Brownstone will acquire the interest for US$1,666,667. Brownstone and Savant will also enter into an area of mutual interest agreement expiring on June 30, 2009, covering the area surrounding the Columbia River Basin project.

The Columbia River Basin is currently experiencing significant activity on three planned 14,000' wells, the EnCana Anderville Farms, Inc. #1 and the EnCana Anderson #11-5 as well as the upcoming EnCana Brown #7-24 located in Grant and Yakima Counties, Washington. These wells represent a significant industry commitment to establish commercial natural gas production in the expanding Pacific Northwest and West Coast energy markets.TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 25, 2006) - Brownstone Ventures Inc. ('Brownstone')(TSX VENTURE:BWN) announced today that it has entered into a participation agreement with Savant Resources LLC ('Savant'), a private limited liability company based in Colorado, to purchase a 2% participating interest in leases covering 366,973 net acres in the Columbia River Basin, Oregon. Savant owns rights and interests"

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jury Awards $1.1M to Dairyman in Stray Voltage Case

The Seattle Times -- By Warren Cornwall
"Friday, a Skagit County Superior Court jury sided with David Baumgardner and his wife, Lucinda, awarding them a $1.1 million verdict against Puget Sound Energy.

The ruling is unusual but not unheard of. Dairy farmers across the country have won verdicts against electric utilities over cases of 'stray voltage.' Among the largest is a $17.5 million judgment in 2004 for an Idaho dairyman against Idaho Power. After an appeal, the two sides in that case reached a settlement."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

DRAFT Columbia River Water Supply Report Now Available for Comment

Columbia River Water Supply Inventory and Demand Forecasting – Conservation Project Reports
"Columbia River Legislative Report

On Feb. 14, 2006, the Legislature passed a bill creating a new framework for managing water resources in the Columbia River basin. The legislation requires the Washington State Department of Ecology to complete an inventory of the Columbia River’s water supply and to forecast future water supply and demand requirements.

The report, due November 15, 2006, consists of two parts. The first, the Columbia River Water Supply Inventory, lists the conservation and storage projects available for acquiring water for instream uses like ensuring adequate streamflows for fish and out-of-stream uses such as for farming and drinking water. The Columbia River Water Management Program will use this report to evaluate and rank projects for funding. The Supply Inventory Report will be updated annually. The second portion, the Long-Term Water Supply and Demand Forecast, looks at increased water demands due to population growth and the effect crop changes and global warming may have on water supply and demand. As required by the legislation, Ecology will update the water supply inventory annually and the long-term water supply and demand forecast every five years. These reports will help the State to manage the river more efficiently.

Draft Columbia River Water Supply Inventory and Long-Term Water Supply and Demand Forecast Report

Ecology is releasing the Draft Columbia River Water Supply Inventory and Long-Term Water Supply and Demand Forecast Report for public comment. The data and recommendations contained in the first report to the Legislature will form the foundation for implementing the Columbia River Bill RCW 90.90.030 and will help state officials determine the extent of the need for water supplies that will rely upon the Columbia River."

Monday, October 16, 2006

US Supreme Court declines to review Washington development-fee case

"The Supreme Court refused on Monday to consider a significant new issue on the government's power to demand civic contributions from developers as a condition for getting permits to build new projects. In a brief order, the Court turned down a case from Washington State testing whether the Constitution puts limits on local officials' power to impose a fee on a new project to offset the cost of added public services.

The appeal contended that, in this case, the "impact fees" were not tailored to the actual impact of the proposed apartment project on traffic flows. The issue in the case of Drebick v. City of Olympia (06-223) was whether the Constitution requires that any such fees must be based only upon an individual project's actual impact on public services, and must be "proportional" in size to the specific impact of that project. "

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Someone should tell them: It's all about the fish

HeraldNet -- By Lukas Velush
"A lawsuit that aims to reduce the number of Puget Sound chinook salmon caught by fishermen could spell the end of what has been a traditional way of life for the Tulalip Tribes for more than 10,000 years, tribal officials say.

A group of environmentalists and sport fishermen is suing the federal government, saying a recovery plan for endangered chinook does not do enough to restrict fishing in the Pacific Northwest."

Monday, October 09, 2006

Hanford Vit Plant: 2+2 Modification Open for Comment

Waste Treatment Plant 2+2 permit modification public comment period starts today.

"It runs October 9 through November 27, 2006

Washington State’s Department of Ecology invites you to comment on a permit modification for Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP). The plant will change millions of gallons of highly radioactive waste, now stored in aging underground tanks, into glass. The draft permit incorporates the following changes into the WTP Permit, Chapter 10 and Attachment 51 of the Dangerous Waste Portion of the Hanford Facility Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Permit.

The melter configuration is changed from one high-level waste (HLW) melter and three low-activity waste (LAW) melters to two HLW and two LAW melters (2+2) Detailed designs for the HLW melters are added.

The permit would include secondary containment calculations for the pretreatement facility.

A public comment period runs from October 9 through November 27, 2006. Ecology will consider all comments it receives during the comment period. Ecology will also issue a response to comments when it issues the final decision on the modification.

How can you review the permit?

During the public comment period, you can review the draft permit modification at the Hanford Public Information Repositories You can make an appointment to review the information at Ecology’s Nuclear Waste Program office by calling 509-372-7920. You also can review documents related to the draft permit online ...

Attend the public hearing

Ecology will hold a public hearing on on the evening of Thursday, November 9 at the Nuclear Waste Program office, 3100 Port of Benton Blvd, Richland, WA 99354. At 7:00 p.m. Ecology representatives will present information and have a short question and answer session, then accept formal public comment.

Please contact Madeleine Brown at 509-372-7936 or the Hanford Cleanup Line, 800-321-2008, for more information."

Interesting article in SeattlePI about tide gates, culverts and salmon

SeattlePI -- by Robert McClure
"Probably the biggest bottleneck for Skagit salmon, biologists say, is the destruction of the river's delta, where fresh water and salt water mix. Historically, young salmon could hang out here, getting acclimated to the brine of Puget Sound while hiding from predators. But more than three-quarters of that so-called 'estuary' is gone, blocked with dikes installed to keep salt water out and create farmland. The dikes included 'tide gates' to allow rainwater to drain off the fields."

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Yakima Basin Water Rights Adjudication Nearing an End?

Yakima Herald Republic Online - By DAVID LESTER
"After 29 years, untold millions of dollars in cost, three trips to the state Supreme Court and a constitutional amendment, the final chapter in the lawsuit is about to be written. "

Read Mr. Lester's informative story about this unique lawsuit.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Odessa Aquifer Groups Explore Common Goals

Columbia Basin Herald -- By Matthew Weaver
"COLUMBIA BASIN -- Aquifer-minded organizations are coming together to coordinate efforts to preserve the Odessa Sub-Area Aquifer. Such groups as the Columbia Basin Development League, Odessa Aquifer Replenishment Coalition, Washington State Potato Commission and Northwest Food Processors Association are part of the Odessa Aquifer Coordination Team, or OACT. The team is a group working on projects to maintain irrigated agriculture in the Odessa Ground Water Management Sub-Area of Central Washington, including those replacing ground water with surface water and those reducing water withdrawals from the aquifer."

CH2M Hill All But Empties Tank C-103 at Hanford; Many Left To Do

Tri-City Herald -- By Annette Cary
"CH2M Hill Hanford Group workers have removed all but 351 cubic feet of waste from the bottom of Tank C-103. That meets the legally binding requirement in the Tri-Party Agreement that no more than 360 cubic feet of waste be left in the bottom of the 530,000-gallon tank. To protect the Columbia River, waste is being removed from Hanford's single-shell tanks and stored in 28 newer double-shell tanks. The waste is left from chemically processing fuel irradiated in Hanford's nine production reactors to remove plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons program."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Columbia River Water Plan Available for Review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Oct. 5, 2006 06-202

Details on Columbia River water plan available for review

YAKIMA - A draft environmental impact statement addressing how the state should implement a new water management program for the Columbia River is available for review.

House Bill 2860, passed this year, directs the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) to lead an effort to aggressively pursue development of new water supplies for both in-stream and out-of- stream uses on the Columbia River.

Four open houses are slated for October and November where people may learn more about the program and provide comment on the proposals in the Columbia River Water Management Program environmental impact statement. Comments on the programmatic EIS will be accepted through Nov. 20, 2006, and should be directed in writing to Derek Sandison, Dept. of Ecology, 15 W. Yakima Ave., Suite 200, Yakima, WA 98902; or by email to:

An electronic version of the EIS and a list of libraries where copies of the EIS may be viewed are available online at: wr/cwp/crwmp.html. Or copies may be obtained by calling (509) 454-7679.

Staff from Ecology will be available at the open houses to answer questions and share insight on the proposals outlined in the draft EIS. In addition, a draft report inventorying water supplies and a long-term water demand forecast will be introduced during the workshops. The water supply and forecast documents will be the basis for Columbia River water management decision making. The water supply and forecast reports are due to the Legislature by Nov. 15, 2006.

The open houses will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at these locations:

* Oct 24 - Moses Lake: Big Bend Community College, Advanced Technologies Education Center (ATEC), 7662 Chanute Street N.E.

* Oct. 25 - Colville: Agricultural Trade Center, 317 W. Astor

* Nov. 1 - Kennewick: Three Rivers Convention Center, Meeting Rooms E & F, 7016 W. Grandridge Blvd.

* Nov. 7 - Wenatchee: Wenatchee Convention Center (The Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel), Fuji Room, 201 N. Wenatchee Ave.

Proposals addressed in the draft EIS include a plan for delivering water to Odessa Subarea farmlands, a secondary feed route to the Potholes Reservoir, off-channel storage options, water conservation projects and voluntary regional water agreements. # # #